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Chemaoi and Sangau run at NCAA Championships

Runners wrap-up 2009 campaign at NCAA Championships

November 23, 2009 · Christian Lemon

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Perfect weather conditions awaited Middle Tennessee's top cross country runners, Zamzam Sangau and Festus Chemaoi, as they concluded the 2009 campaign at the NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

"This was a great opportunity for them the two of them to gain experience in these types of races," said head coach Dean Hayes. "Since we do not have a full team in the race, I am just proud they were able to qualify to run today. It is a reward for all the hard work they have put in this season."

Sangau, the first female in school history to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, finished 143rd of 254 entries in a time of 21:36.0 in the women's 6,000-meter race. The Kampala, Uganda, native ran strong with the top-20 competitors for the first half mile before settling back in the main pack.

She finishes her Middle Tennessee cross country career as the most decorated runner in school history, earning All-Sun Belt Conference and All-NCAA South Regional honors in three consecutive seasons. In 2008, she was the Sun Belt Conference individual runner-up.

Chemaoi finished 146th out of 250 in a respectable time of 31:21.1 on the men's 10,000 meter course. Chemaoi was the first Blue Raider men's runner to participate in the NCAA Championships since Richard Russo in 1971. As a junior, Chemaoi will have another opportunity to qualify next year for the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

"These two both have incredible range of distance. They are running primarily middle distance runners. They ran the full cross country distances today and both have to ability to run for our 4x400 meter relay team for track."

Sangau and Chemaoi will rejoin their teammates on December 12 for the start of the indoor track season. The Blue Raiders will play host to the MT Christmas Invitational at Murphy Center in the first meet. Stay tuned to goblueraiders.com for coverage and updates.

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